America woos overseas tourists

A passenger walks past a U.S. flag at the entrance of the San Diego airport. Since 9/11, America's share of worldwide tourism has dropped 30 percent. A new ad campaign hopes to reverse the trend.

Jeremy Hobson: The vast majority of hotel guests in this country are from this country: omestic tourists. But the tourism industry sees the real growth coming from overseas. So, it's teaming up with the U.S. government for the first ever coordinated global marketing campaign for U.S. tourism.

Marketplace's Bob Moon reports.


Bob Moon: International visitors poured $153 billion into the U.S. economy last year, but Chris Perkins says we've been losing out to other countries in the decade since the 9/11 attacks. He heads marketing for the tourism partnership called Brand USA.

Chris Perkins: Our share of the international growth in tourism has been declining.

From a 17 percent share to less than 12 percent in the past decade. Some industry experts blame tougher security barriers, but Perkins suggests we just haven't been all that welcoming.

Perkins: I think the biggest reason is everybody else has been saying, "Hey, pick me," and they've given a clear and smart reason to do so. We've never resoundingly said, "You're welcome, and please come."

Initially, a $12 million ad campaign will target Canada, England and Japan, using an anthem from singer/songwriter Rosanne Cash.

"Land of Dreams" ad: And it's closer than it seems, come and find your land of dreams.

Perkins: And mixed with that, we're sharing really, really interesting and different views of America.

The ads are being financed by contributions from the travel industry, and matching funds from government fees, collected from foreign travelers.

I'm Bob Moon for Marketplace.

About the author

Bob Moon is Marketplace’s senior business correspondent, based in Los Angeles.

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